Thursday, September 30, 2010

Photography Help! If you have suggestions...

Ok, if there is one thing that frustrates me to no end it's this...
All the same piece, different lighting - frustrating!
Proper lighting for photographing one's work is starting to drive me a little batty…
This Hibiscus Flower Cutout Pendant in Stormy Night Sky would SO like to be listed up on Etsy, along with a number of other pieces (see picture below) just out of the kiln, but I'm hitting a wall with trying to do some quick photography to reveal the truest color of the actual piece without my hand in the background and all the bright spots from the lights.
Cutout Flowers, Hibiscus Flowers, Leaf Shapes, colored loops, smaller sizes, new glazes from glaze tests.
I have tried natural lighting, overcast days, different backgrounds, I have a white pop up tent for photographing things to sell through pictures online, a digital SLR, a point and shoot, and my iPhone.
So now I think I need to figure out what kind of light bulbs work best for shooting indoors, within that cloud tent, with my digital SLR. 

Any suggestions from those of you that may have a similar setup with shooting glossy pieces? What kind of light bulbs do you use with your digital camera? And do you use light sources that point away from the cloud tent, or should they be pointed directly onto it?
Just thought I would ask before jumping into the internet to search out some ideas and running more tests for my setup.

I even spent this morning getting my "basement office" area cleared out to set up a place for taking pictures. It gets too frustrating trying to work in 5 different areas of the house on different things. "All in one place" is my current mantra for my studio organization (I think this would count as like day 7 or something if you have been reading my blog about it). I've been squeezing the organization in as I can.

The new office area went from this:
To this:
See… there is a floor under there and some cabinets & counter top to work on…
Now to run to pick up some shelving for the area to the left and move my shipping area and Etsy pieces up here…
Then there will really be flow and hopefully less frustration which leads to more motivation!
Then I can get this feeling of "I still have to work on that too" out of my head and make room for creativity and inspiration…

Thanks Jenny for the - business stuff up front motivation - I needed that 2nd set of eyes and another brain to look at the areas I am dealing with (and frustrated about) and hear what I was saying, then pull it all together for me in a way that will allow me to get going with this all. 
You gave me my starting point… THANKS!


  1. I struggle with all these same things. I finally found for me that I photograph on the same slate tile, but the light is always the problem. I found the best luck in the natural light. I have a tent like that and can never get anything but grays from it. Maybe I will find a way to make it work this winter when natural light doesn't work.

    I am doing the same thing with my studio. Finding a place for everything and everything in its place. Even if I forget where I put it. Like right now. I can't find my expensive transparency paper. grrrrr.

    Best of luck to you Marsha!

    Enjoy the day!

  2. Marsha, You need to get the tulip bulbs from Tabletop I had the same frustration that you have with lighting. I have a white pop up tent and use to be subject to the weather outside to take my photos. I was tired of very hot summer days, rainy days, and cold winter weather not to mention the eye strain on very bright days outside. I just recently invested in the bulbs and I have been very pleased with my results.

  3. Marcia, this is a kind of never ending stuggle for me. I have a light tent but never use it any more. I just couldn't get adequate lighting. I use daylight bulbs from Home Depot. You know those really ugly coiled ones? Most often I do my photos at night (easier to control lighting) or in afternoon because the sun is not shining on the side of the house where the room is that I take photos. If you are concerned about glare on glossy glazes, a photography friend of mine says you can get covers for your lights from a photography supply place. They are like a shower cap. As for those glossy glazes, personally I don't mind a little sparkle on them. Oh and one other thing, with my digital camera, the angle I shoot at makes a huge difference in getting true colours. Green backgrounds which most of my work looks best on is the hardest. And I never use white. OK, this is a little like a blog post :-). Sorry to ramble on. But if you've any questions, you know where to find me. Good luck and please do share along the way.

  4. Thanks you guys!
    Tracey, I have been on the website and it is AWESOME! It has so much information to help explain the setup and right to the point.

    I think I am going to try to fix the lighting: all the same bulbs - daylight balanced compact florescent bulbs & maybe some of those covers for things outside the cloud tent. And also fiddle with the camera's exposure…

    Should be interesting! Once it is setup and functioning, taking pictures should be fun again! Work, but the fun kind because I will hopefully be getting good results and less frustration…


  5. It seems like the consensus is natural light which is what I use. I'm just too lazy to set up a permanent photo spot so I take a tray with a set up out side. I'm SOL on days that are too dark. It seems like I get the true color that way. XOXO

  6. Hi Marsha, I did a post on my blog about the way I shoot my photos. I do it outside on a white background. I can go in and adjust the levels of the white to make it pure white in Photoshop. As a result everything else turns the color it should be. My old camera had a tungsten setting so I could use tungsten bulbs and shoot indoors with the same results. E- mail me if you want to know more...

    Jennifer Jangles


I would love to hear what you think…